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Saints, Gods and Demons
A statue of Brahma - the five faced god.

Saints, Gods and Demons

The conduct of saints and the wicked is analogous to that of sandal-wood and the axe. The axe cuts down a sandal-tree, while the sandal-tree in its turn perfumes the axe by imparting its virtue (fragrance) to it. For this reason, sandal-wood (in the form of paste) finds its way to the heads of the gods (as tilak on the images of gods), and is loved by the world so much; while the axe has its metal edge heated in the fire and beaten with a hammer as punishment.

Saints have no hankering for the pleasures of the senses and are the very mines of amiability and other virtues. They grieve to see others in distress and rejoice at the sight of others' joy. They are even-minded and look upon none as their enemy. Free from vanity and passion, they are conquerors of greed, anger, joy and fear. Tender of heart and compassionate to the distressed, they cherish guileless devotion to the Lord in thought, word and deed. They never swerve from the control of their mind and senses, religious observances and correct behaviour and never utter a harsh word.

Now hear the characteristics of the impious - association with whom should be scrupulously avoided for their company ever brings woe, even as a wicked cow ruins by her company a cow of noble breed. The heart of the wicked suffers terrible agony, for they ever burn at the sight of others' prosperity. Wherever they hear others reviled, they feel delighted as though they had stumbled upon a treasure lying on the road. Devoted to sensuality, anger, arrogance and greed, they are merciless, deceitful, crooked and impure. They bear enmity towards all without rhyme or reason; they behave inimically even with those who are actively kind to them. They are false in their dealings (lying is their stock-in-trade). They speak honeyed words just like the peacock that has a stony heart and devours the most venomous snake.

Malevolent by nature, they enjoy other's wives and other's wealth and take delight in slander. Such vile and sinful men are demons in human garb. Devoted to their own selfish interests, they antagonise their kinsfolk, are given up to sensuality and greed and are most irascible. They recognise neither mother nor father, preceptor nor the Brahmans. Utterly ruined themselves, they bring ruin upon others. Overcome by infatuation they bear malice to others and have no love for communion with saints nor for the stories relating to Sri Hari. Oceans of vice, dull-witted, and lascivious, they revile the Vedas and usurp others' wealth. Though bearing malice to all, they are enemies of the Brahmans in particular and full of hypocrisy and deceit at heart, they outwardly wear a saintly appearance.

Such vile and wicked men are absent in the Satya and Treta Yugas. A sprinkling of them will appear in the Dwapara, while a multitude of them will crop forth in the Kali age.

1.
What are the names of the two very brave demons that defeated Vishnu, but still were killed by him after they asked him to name a boon?
Hiranyaksh and Hiranyakashyap
Rambh and Karambh
Sumbh and Nishumb
Madhu and Kaitav
These were two very powerful demons that fought Vishnu for days before defeating him. Vishnu, very shocked that they had beaten him, asked them to name a boon. Madhu and Kaitav mocked him, by saying "powerful people give boons and you are not powerful so, oh Vishnu, ask a boon from us. We shall grant you your wish." Seizing his chance, Vishnu asked them for their lives as a boon. Madhu and Kaitav, defeated by his wits, told Vishnu they could only be killed in his lap. Vishnu extended his lap so wide the universe was filled with it. He caught the two demons and eventually killed them
2.
Who is the teacher or master of all the demons, and also the son of a very great sage, Vhrigu, who once cursed Vishnu?
Bhrispathi
Vishwamitra
Sukracharya
Vasistha
Sukracharya is the demons' teacher. He is a Shiv devotee but offended Vishnu. Long ago, Vishnu killed his mother with his disc as she refused to evict the demons that hid in her house; he needed to kill them for the welfare of the Earth. Vhrigu Rishi cursed Vishnu, saying he would have to live 100 years without his wife, and that happened in the life of Rama (an incarnation of Vishnu). Sukracharya vowed to be Vishnu's enemy and to take his revenge
3.
Whom did Mata Parvati curse?
Balarama
Nandi
Rama
Krishna
You may not know this, but it is true that Nandi the bull was cursed by Parvati. Once, Shiva and Parvati were playing a game of dice. They decided Nandi would be the umpire. Although Shiva lost Nandi announced him as the winner, as he was his master. Parvati, angry at this, cursed Nandi to be killed by a disease. Nandi asked for forgiveness and Parvati agreed, on the condition that Nandi offered what he loved the most (green grass) to Ganesha once a month
4.
What is the name of the 10th incarnation of Vishnu who will appear in Kali Yuga, our present age?
Kali
Kalki
Krishna
Kamakshi
Kalki, the magnificent horseman, is believed to be the tenth incarnation of Shri Vishnu. Although he has not yet been incarnated on this earth, it is believed he will show up around 500 years from now. Call it a superstition or a myth if you like, but many people throughout the world believe this to be true
5.
Who was the mother of Balaram?
Yashoda
Draupadi
Gandhari
Rohini
Rohini was the first wife of Vasudev. She lived with Yashoda and Nandarai after Vasudev married Devaki and was sent to prison. Nandarai was her brother-in-law. Shri Krishna regarded her as a second mother and she was known as Balaram's mother
6.
Which of these pairs (a god and his consort) were most important during the second age, or Treta Yuga?
Rama and Sita
Shiva and Parvati
Indra and Sachi
Krishna and Radha
Although Treta Yuga was a long age, and has many stories, the story of Shri Rama is the most important event of the time. The devas went to Vishnu and asked for his help killing the demon Ravan. Shri Vishnu then became Rama, Kaushyala and Dashrat's son. Later, when he was in his teens, he married Sita. They were exiled. Ravan kidnapped Sita and Rama killed him. Later in this Yuga, Sita went into exile by herself and gave birth to two twin sons. This story is told in the Ramayana
7.
One of the most important gods in the Hindu mythology is believed to have five heads and four arms. His fifth head later got burned. He also has a son named Daksh Prajapati who is the father of Shiva's first wife - Sati. Who is he?
Vishnu
Brahma
Vishwakarma
Indra
Brahma is believed to have five heads. First, having only one head, he created a very beautiful lady called Shatarupa or Saraswati. She was so beautiful that he could not take his eyes off her. She, out of shyness, moved around so that Brahma could not see her. Brahma, being the creator, created four more heads so that he could see her wherever she went. He made another head on top of those four so he could see her when she moved up. Shiva later burned that head as he was offended by Brahma. Daksh is the human son of Brahma and his story is very famous too
8.
What are the names of Lakshman and Urmila's sons?
Subahu and Sutushen
Luv and Kush
Daksh and Pukshar
Angad and Citraketu
Urmila was the daughter of Janak and she married Lakshman, the son of Dashrat and Sumitra. Years after Ravan was killed, when Sita was sent into exile, all four sisters (Sita, Urmila, Sutkirti and Mandavi) give birth to two sons each. These are their offspring:

Rama and Sita became the parents of Luv and Kush,
Bharat and Mandavi became the parents of Daksh and Pushkar,
Lakshman and Urmila became the parents of Angad and Citraketu,
Satrughna and Sutkirti became the parents of Subahu and Sutushen
9.
Who is the devi (god) who, alongside Lakshmi and Parvati, can take the form of Devi Durga? She is the goddess of knowledge and music.
Shri
Sati
Sharda
Uma
Sharda is another name of Sarasvati. Sati and Uma are Parvati's other names and Shri is Lakshmi. These three goddesses combined their powers together and merged into Devi Durga. Devi Durga then became Mahakali and killed Mahisasur, thus ending the misery of the three worlds. She is also called Mahisasur Mardini - Killer of Mahisasur. Although Durga was granted the powers of all the gods, she is believed to be an incarnation of Lakshmi, Parvati and Saraswati
10.
What is the name of the demi-god who woke Shiva from his meditation so he could marry Parvati -- only to be burned by him?
Kamdev
Vasudev
Varundev
Vamandev
This is a story of how Shiva defeated Kamdev or Kam (love and greediness) and was called Pashupati. Later, when Kamdev's consort Rati asked for forgiveness, Shiva told her that in Dwapar Yug Kamdev would be reborn as Pradyumna, Krishna's son. He would then kill a demon and become Kamdev again

 

Author:  Siddarth Bhattacharjee

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